Great roundtrip in Hungary

E

Explore the Western part of the country with its palaces and medieval churches, the largest fresh-water lake of Europe, lake Balaton, Budapest the most popular city in Europe in 2015, the Great Hungarian plain with the horses, hills, mountains, rivers, lakes and beautiful landscapes. Just a short list of the sights of our 15 days program we offer you.

DAY 1: Vienna – Sopron – walking city tour, Overnight in Sopron

Arrival at Vienna Airport, then transfer to Sopron / Hungary. Sopron the “town of loyalty”, and the city of monuments, is today one of Hungary’s most outstanding tourist destinations due to its historic past, almost unparalleled number of listed buildings, romantic mountainous area, subalpine climate and bustling cultural life. The buildings of high architectural value reflecting the artistry of old masters, the ruins of the old fortress, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque ornaments confer the historic downtown a special atmosphere. After breakfast we will  go for a half day walking tour in Sopron to get acquainted with the jewels of the Inner city.

DAY 2: Sopron – Fertőd – Fertőrákos – Cave Theatre & Iron Curtain Museum
Overnight in Sopron

After breakfast you visit the Esterhazy Palace, the ‘Hungarian Versailles’ in Fertőd. This is the place where Joseph Haydn composed an enormous number of works under the patronage of the Esterhazy’s, one of the richest noble families of the country in the 18th century. The palace with its Baroque and Rococo courtyard, wrought-iron gate and glamorously decorated 126 rooms is an outstanding value in the surrounding of the World Heritage area. In the afternoon we can take part in a tour to the quarries of Fertőrákos to wonder at the huge underground halls reminiscent of the rock graves of Egypt. Visit the Iron Curtain Museum. The visitor experiences ow to work once the technical lock, which is bisected Europe. The Watchtower is the original, as well as other pieces of the exhibition.

DAY 3: Lébény – Pannonhalma – Lake Balaton – Keszthely Overnight at Lake Balaton

After breakfast we’ll visit Lébény, which survived the Mongol and Turkish invasions and maintains much of its medieval character. Its most famous monument is the Romanesque church of St. James. Then the tour goes to Pannonhalma, the oldest – over 1000 years’ old – active religious institution of Hungary, where you visit the Benedictine Monastery, a World Heritage site. It was the first Hungarian monastery, founded more than a thousand years ago, Hungary has been primarily a pagan culture at the time. It’s an example of an early Christian monastery that is still in use. The amazing library, containing over 300,000 units, was designed to be naturally lit with carefully placed windows and mirrors, avoiding damage by candles and smoke in a world that had not yet discovered electricity. The next stop is in Keszthely, which has a history of more than 750 years. You visit the Festetics Palace, the fourth largest and also the most beautifully refurbished and furnished palace in Hungary. Its original library furnishings built by a local carpenter are still intact.

DAY 4: Hévíz – Sümeg – Badacsony Hill, Overnight at Lake Balaton

After breakfast we can visit Sümeg Castle – built in the  late 13th century by Béla IV of Hungary, Sümeg Castle is situated atop a mountain called “Castle Hill”. During its existence, it has been expanded several times. In the 15th century, it was fortified, and the second of two towers was built. It has been under siege several times, and has experienced two fires. Since 1989, it has been privately held. It was restored on a large scale, and is now operated as a tourist attraction, providing events and tournaments. It is considered to be Hungary’s most well-preserved fortress. (You can go for a walk to the Castle or can take a “castle taxi”, which is the comfortable way). In the afternoon visit  the world-famous Hévíz Lake . During the summer its thermal water is a constant 33-34°C, while in winter it never falls below 26°C, that is why in summer and winter Hévíz is equally popular as spa town. One of the medical factors of Hévíz thermal water is the mildly radioactive mud which coats the bottom of the lake. In the late afternoon you will have a breath-taking view from a hill called Badacsony. The hill itself is an extinct casket-shaped volcano. Its slopes are covered with some very strange geological formations, fossilised lava columns called ‘basalt organs’ as well as vineyards which produce the excellent wine of the Pauline monks called ‘Grey Friar’ (Szürkebarát). Tonight we visit one in one of the cellars of the hill with dinner and wine tasting.

DAY 5: Tihany – Balatonfüred – Herend – Budapest Overnight in Budapest

The Tihany Peninsula is unique with its rich natural and historical values and the largest peninsula of the Lake Balaton. The ancient Tihany village originates from the Middle Ages when King Andrew I. founded here a burial-place for the royal family and built a monastery, where Benedictine monks were settled. The monastery was rebuilt in Baroque style and became a symbol of Tihany. You will say goodbye to Lake Balaton during a short walking tour in Balatonfüred, one of the famous therapeutic holiday resorts in Hungary. To the present day, many cardiac patients continue to recover their health in the cardiac hospital, including the Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore, who has given his name to the famous Balatonfüred lakeside promenade. Development of the city began in the in the early 1800s. After visiting Balatonfüred continue to the porcelain manufactory of Herend, with 183 years of history. Herend is a place where beauty is born and becomes eternal value. We visit the museum and the manufactory of Herend. After a short shopping time we travel to Budapest.

DAY 6: City tour of the Pest side – Parliament – Opera house – Pancake tasting Overnight in Budapest

After breakfast take a half day sightseeing tour in the younger and more modern part of the city: Pest. Besides passing by the Saint Stephen Cathedral, named after the first Hungarian king, the Andrássy Avenue and Heroes’ Square, where you can learn a lot about the Hungarian history, visit our magnificent Parliament, in which the Holy Hungarian Crown and the crown jewels are located. You will be amazed by the rich golden decoration and the grandiosity of the building! Afterwards, visit the world famous Gundel Restaurant to taste the King of Pancakes, the  Gundel pancake. The Gundel pancake has a filling enriched with rum, raisin, lemon rind and walnuts, served with a chocolate sauce – fried in the oven and flambéed.  In the afternoon visit a cultural and architectural gem, the Budapest Opera House. It will enchant all of us not only with its Royal Box, but with its fine neo-Renaissance architecture as well. After the visit we can go for a walk, or for shopping. Dinner at one of the most elegant restaurant of the city.

DAY 7: City tour – Buda side – Visit of the Rock Hospital – Chef Parade Cooking Class Overnight in Budapest

After breakfast we are going to visit the older and hillier part of the city: Buda. Highlights of the tour are the Royal Palace, housing some of the most exciting museums of the city; the Matthias Church, symbol of Buda’s Castle District, named after the much loved 15th-century Renaissance king; and the neo-Gothic terrace of the Fisherman’s Bastion, to be amazed by the beautiful panorama of the river Danube and the Pest side of the city. These sights are all parts of the view in Budapest that belongs to the World Heritage. We will visit the Rock Hospital – an authentic, secret hospital in a cave underneath the Royal Castle, operating until 1989. After our programs are over you will have time to go for a walk to the city or make shopping. To get to know more about the Hungarian cuisine, we would like to invite you to a cooking school class in the heart of the city. Participate on our „Chef Parade” program, your cooking school in Budapest! They teach you how to cook some delicious Hungarian dishes, this way you prepare your own dinner!  Afternoon at leisure.

DAY 8: Budapest – Gödöllő – Eger Overnight in Eger

First we will travel to Gödöllő, visit the second largest Baroque Palace of the world, in the footsteps of Queen Elisabeth of Habsburg called Sissy. The royal palace – one of the favourite palaces of Queen Elisabeth – with its huge territory of 17.000 QM is one of the most important palaces of the world. You can visit the royal apartments, festive hall, chapel, riding hall and orangerie. After spending a couple of hours in this pleasant place, we will drive to Eger.  Eger is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary. Situated in the northeast, the town is rich in historic monuments and famous for its wines and thermal waters. The charming city is one of the oldest bishopric in Hungary. The area is also a centre of Hungarian wine production, from where the famous Hungarian wine Bull’s Blood comes. Visit to the castle and to the classical cathedral, walking in the city centre with the Turkish minaret and the underground town, the Episcopal cellar system. Here, in this cellar, wine was stored which came from the vineyards from surroundings of Eger. The most impressive part of the cellar system is the Pillared-hall, where 7 cellar lines are crossed by 7 cellar lines which create a chess table-like structure, with 35 separate pillars.  To have a pleasant ending of the day, we will have a delicious dinner in the so called “The Valley of the Beautiful Women” – Szépasszonyok Völgye.

DAY 9: Szilvásvárad – Szalajka Valley & Egerszalók

Lunch (trout grill party) in Szalajka valley

Today we would like to take our guests to Szilvásvárad. Visit to the famous Lipica stud, ride on a horse driven coach followed by a ride by the forest railway around the picturesque surroundings and beautiful landscapes to Szalajka Valley, one of Hungary’s most beautiful natural treasures. Participate in a grill party in a special ambience. Grill your freshly caught trout in Hungarian way with bacon.  A short walk around the valley and we will drive to Egerszalók, which extraordinary attraction is the thermal spring bubbling up from deep below. The water coming up from 410 metres deep is about 65-68°C and is almost 27 000 years old. The water flowing down the hillside has formed special limestone terraces which are unique in Europe. Other sights of this town are the stone caves. The visitors can see an exhibition about local history and culture.

DAY 10: Tokaj – Sárospatak Overnight in Sárospatak

After having breakfast in the hotel, we will travel to Tokaj, which is part of the World Heritage Sites, as well as Hungary’s best-known wine region, famous for its dessert wine the Tokaji Aszú, the most famous wine of  Tokaj. King Louis XIV famously called it the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”.  During our trip in Tokaj you can visit the famous Rákóczi Cellar, which was built in the 15th century. The guests will have the opportunity for visiting the wine-cellar and have a wine tasting in the imposing knights’ hall (28 m long, 10 m wide and 5 m high). After a wine tasting we continue our tour to Sárospatak, and have the opportunity for sightseeing. Sárospatak is a pleasant little town, due to the role it once played in Hungary’s cultural life; it used to be called the “Athens on the River Bodrog”.   It has a famous protestant college (one of the educators was Jan Comenius). Today Sárospatak is a charming historical town and a popular tourist destination. During the city tour we will visit the Rákóczi Castle, Basilica Minor, Calvinist College , the Great Library, St. Elisabeth’s House, etc.

DAY 11: Bible of Vizsoly – porcelain factory in Hollóháza – Pálháza Overnight in Sárospatak

After breakfast the group will go to Vizsoly. The oldest church in Vizsoly is the reformed church must have already been built in 1220 according to the documents. The church became famous after the first fully translated Hungarian Holy Bible was published here, by Gáspár Károli. One of the Holy Bibles of Vizsoly can be seen in the reformed church. From Vizsoly we will drive to Hollóháza, where we will visit the porcelain museum and shop. Shopping facilities are available.  The last destination will be Pálháza – Kőkapu. Far from the noisy, crowded cities, hiding between the mountains is the Hunting Lodge. The romance of the relaxation in the wilderness is calling already upon arrival through the road in the valley, while the breath-taking views of the lake and lodge building carries everyone away. Being isolated is its most attractive value, making it a fantastic hideaway, far from the bustle and stress. We can travel there by our ciach or by a local train. Enjoy the nature, make a walk around the lake, have a nice coffee!

DAY 12: Eastern-Hungarian villages (Tákos, Csaroda & Szatmárcseke) – Debrecen Overnight in Debrecen

We will drive to the Eastern part of Hungary, a meeting point of three countries – Hungary, Rumania and Ukraine. The Trans-Tisza region became the mainstay of Hungarian Reformation. During its 450-years history, Hungarian Reformation created something enduring not only in terms of written culture but also in architecture; however, these masterpieces of church architecture are often unknown to the general public. Therefore, when travelling along the Plum Route, the visiting of typical yet special churches of tiny villages, which play an essential role in the lives of these communities, may surprise all those who are interested in.  Out first stop is Tákos, where the famous Calvinist church with wattle and daub walls is situated (‘the barefooted Notre Dame’); the village is also the home of Bereg region’s famous cross-stitch embroidery. You will have time to make shopping. Continuing our journey, we arrive to the village of Csaroda. The unparalleled beauty of the reformed church’s graceful tower and of the belfry carpentered without nails captivates the visitors. The medieval church, located in the centre of the village at a slightly raised spot, is a country-wide known monument of the settlement having hardly 600 inhabitants. Our next point to visit is Szatmárcseke. The village of Szatmárcseke is located along the Tisza River. In the well-known cemetery you can see over 600 graves with boat-shaped headboards. Closed to the cemetery is the Ferenc Kölcsey tomb (the famous Hungarian poet wrote the national anthem while residing in this village.)  After the visit travel to Debrecen, the “capital of the Hungarian Plain”, a city with a lot of historical sights, the most important city of the Hungarian Protestantism, was “called “the Calvinist Rome”.

DAY 13: Debrecen – Hortobágy Puszta / traditional horse show – Budapest Overnight in Budapest

After breakfast walking city tour in Debrecen: the Grand Church, Déry Museum, Big Forest, etc. At the end we travel to the Hortobágy Puszta, which you can find close to Debrecen, which is a part of the Great Hungarian Plain with a territory of 1700 QKM. The first National Park of Hungary is located here which maintains traditions. Horses, grey cattle, sheep, buffalos can you see here. You will take part on a traditional horse show, which includes several breath-taking field performances; you can ride on a horse driven coach, and possibility for riding. Visit to the Museum of Sheppard’s and to the world famous Stone Bridge with 9 holes are in the program. After a nice lunch including the famous Hungarian goulash soup, accompanied by Hungarian gipsy music in the historic Csárda we will travel back to Budapest.

DAY 14: Full day trip to the Danube Bend – evening cruise on the Danube Overnight in Budapest

This is an unforgettable tour along the “Blue Danube” with stops in Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre. Esztergom: the Northern gate of Hungary – the centre of the Catholic Church. Visit the largest cathedral of Hungary (also burial place of famous cardinals of Hungary, like Primate József Mindszenty). Afterwards, have a glance across the river and enjoy the view over to Slovakia. Visegrád: walk on the 750 year-old stones of the formal Royal Castle, learn about life in the middle ages and enjoy the fascinating panorama on the Danube valley. Lunch will be served in a very special restaurant with Renaissance atmosphere. On the way back to Budapest you will stop in the artists’ village of Szentendre. It is a small Baroque town at the gate of the Danube Bend, at the meeting point of the river Danube and the Pilis Mountains, in a beautiful natural environment. Walk around the town, built on medieval ruins and go up the narrow streets to the panorama point to see the Danube. Then simply enjoy the special atmosphere of this village. We can also take the opportunity to visit the museums (for example the world famous Margaret Kovács Ceramic Museum, the Confectioner Museum – with buildings and figures made of marzipan), or you can choose to visit the shops of the village. In the evening we are offering a cruise on the River Danube. Take a pleasant time on board of any panoramic boat, sailing between the splendid visions of Buda & Pest. 1 hour Budapest sightseeing cruise in the evening incl. a glass of drink (choice of champagne, wine, beer, soft drinks, mineral water)

DAY 15: Transfer to the airport

After breakfast travel to the airport, fly back home.